Micro-channel plate CRT

The Micro-channel plate (MCP) is a form of secondary electron multiplier that can be included in a CRT to improve the brightness of the trace, which is needed particularly at high sweep rates. Typically it sits directly behind the face of the CRT. It requires its own bias voltage.

Structure of an MCP CRT (click to enlarge)

The electron beam passes through the deflection plates before it hits the micro-channel plate, which consists of parallel channels offset at a slight angle to the beam. The inside walls of these channels are coated with resistive material, with an acceleration voltage on the order of 1 kV applied between back and front of the plate.

Due to the offset angle, electrons entering a channel will hit its wall, where they initiate a cascade of secondary electron emission like in a photomultiplier. At the exit of the channels, a final acceleration voltage propels the beam across a small gap toward the CRT's phosphor coating. In a typical MCP CRT like the T7100, the channels have 25 μm diameters.

MCP amplification deteriorates in proportion to total charge passed per channel or unit of area, making them particularly prone to a form of burn-in. Careful biasing along with beam current/time limiting mechanisms are necessary to achieve the full life time.

The MCP enables an improved system bandwidth overall.

MCP tubes are used in the following Tektronix products: